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We use ticketing software at work to track tasks that need to be completed.

My old boss allowed me to enter updates to tickets before they were closed, so that he/she could review my progress on various tickets.

My new boss stated that he/she wanted me to quote "Enter the problem, and when the ticket is closed, enter what fixed the problem".

This is an issue, because some tickets take longer than others to complete. Some tickets are put in months in advance, and are not completed until their due date; other tickets have to be put on-hold until some person or resource is freed up, allowing the ticket to be completed. Note that while the ticketing system does have a due date attached to tickets, it does not have any sort of an on-hold or waiting for client field.

I've posted about this in the forum for the ticketing software and they told me to use the private notes function of the software; they told me that it would allow me to take notes on a ticket without anyone else in the system being able to see it; when I complete the ticket, I have the ability to then include a response, which my boss will be able to see.

Now all this would work out well and good except that my boss comes over to my desk once a week and asks me about the tickets; not unusual behavior for a boss; this is perfectly normal behavior for a boss; but said boss gets annoyed when they have to come see me about the tickets; if they would just read about the progress of the ticket (like I'm not allowed to do) they would not have to come see me about the tickets; rather they would already know the state of the ticket, that it had been worked on, and what had been done in regards to the ticket, and not be annoyed.

But since they cannot view the notes taken on the state of the ticket because they requested it, it puts me in an awkward position with my boss. The ticket reviews usually go okay once I explain what is going on in the tickets when they meet me face to face; but I have no control over the number of tickets submitted; the other people who fail to respond to my emails when a resource needs to be freed, or something needs to be done by someone else before I complete my ticket; I also don't have any control over the fact that my boss doesn't like coming to my office to review tickets.

There is no policy in place for closing out tickets that the ticket issuer hasn't responded to; And if I close tickets like these, my boss responds by telling me that I shouldn't close tickets that are not completed.

Please give me some advice, as I would like to clear up this conflict with my boss.

closed as off-topic by IDrinkandIKnowThings, gnat, Garrison Neely, Jim G., jmort253 Oct 3 '14 at 18:20

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Real questions have answers. Rather than explaining why your situation is terrible, or why your boss/coworker makes you unhappy, explain what you want to do to make it better. For more information, click here." – IDrinkandIKnowThings, gnat, Garrison Neely, Jim G., jmort253
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • Now I just have the case where, one user told me...build a website...and I built most of it, but when I go back to the same user for input into the process, they don't get back to me about it, and I've sent repeated emails an talked to them in person...I'm still left with the website ticket, and the ticket for "content" to populate local search results, I can't close the ticket cause they never send me the content; and the website helps find business for the place so it's not like it isn't important. – leeand00 Oct 2 '14 at 21:49
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    @leeand00, that situation sounds like it would make a good question of it's own! – David K Oct 2 '14 at 23:03
  • How many coworkers do you have? How many feel they get the same treatment from 'the boss'? If you are the sole worker in your job class or if you are in a small minority who receives this treatment, answers would be different from a case where many workers get the same treatment. – user2338816 Oct 3 '14 at 2:13
  • I don't have any coworkers in that sense. – leeand00 Oct 3 '14 at 2:13
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    Hey @leeand00. You have an interesting problem here, but as a Q&A site we'll need there to be an actual question. Would you mind editing to focus on what the goal is that you're hoping for? This helps us best rank the answers via our voting mechanisms. Any edits will bump this back to the top of the main page for community review. See How to Ask for help, or you can jump into The Workplace Chat. Good luck! – jmort253 Oct 3 '14 at 18:21
62

You should just ask your boss what he wants you to do.

Try this:

How would you like me to keep you updated on my tickets? You don't like coming by my desk to go over them in person, and you have asked me not to use the ticketing software to track updates. I could send you weekly update emails, if you think that's worth my time.

This clearly points out the conflicting messages you've been getting and leaves him in control of finding a resolution. If you go this route, be sure to watch your tone of voice though. Make sure you're coming off as purely inquisitive, and not accusative or angry.

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    Minor issue, I might say "if you think that's worth my time" but only with someone I'm on very good terms with. "I could send emails if you'd prefer that" should do. Your boss knows it will take time, no need to risk sounding grudging over it :-) – Steve Jessop Oct 3 '14 at 11:29
  • Also, @leeand00 could also offer to CC the boss on all issues – Dan Lyons Oct 3 '14 at 17:20
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If you are able to create your own tickets, you could solve your issue.

This is an example: if you have a "Long task" ticket, just create 3 sub-tickets:

  1. "Prepare things for Long task and request for a Specific-Resource";
  2. "Wait for Specific-Resource to become free";
  3. "Perform last operations which conclude Long task"

Then you will close "Long task" only after the sub-tickets were closed.

This way, you will close tickets and show your progress; and when your boss will review your tickets, you'll show him/her that the currently open tickets are a majority of "Waiting for a resource".

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    This seems to be the only way to use the tickets as your boss has requested while still providing updates. It's still preferable to try and communicate the contradiction, but as exemplified by most of the answers it can be pretty hard to do that without antagonizing your boss. – meustrus Oct 3 '14 at 15:11
3

As Wesley Snipes once observed, "Some [people] are always trying to ice-skate uphill."

The next time your boss gets annoyed, you should just mention, "If we used the ticketing software as designed, you wouldn't have to do these reviews with me in person." If he accepts it, then use it. If he doesn't, continue as you have been and don't bring it up again.

Is he expressing his annoyance, or is it just body language and tone-of-voice? If he's expressing annoyance at you, you simply remind him, "I've given you the option of not doing the review this way. This is your choice to proceed as we are. I'd appreciate it if you wouldn't take your frustrations out on me."

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    I think the responses could be phrased in a less boss-antagonistic way. – yochannah Oct 2 '14 at 17:10
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    This is terrible advice unless you are looking to burn a bridge on your way out the door... if so this is a good way to do it. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Oct 2 '14 at 19:11
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    I also consider this a bad way to handle it. "If we used the software as designed", "I've given you the option" are too confrontational -even though it's completely true, but alhough it might be acceptable when explaining the issue to a third person, I don't think ieeeand00 has that kind of relationship with his boss- and here the boss was already annoyed! – Ángel Oct 2 '14 at 21:00
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    Up to you. If someone is getting upset with me for a problem they created themselves, I'm going to stand up for myself. A manager is an employee, just like you are. – Wesley Long Oct 3 '14 at 3:57
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    Yeh, I don't understand the "afraid of the boss" mentality going on here. If you can't tell if to your boss like it is, then sounds like an awful place to work, and an awful person to work for. – Kik Oct 3 '14 at 18:17
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The underlying issue is that your workflow does not match what the ticket tracking system supports.

To resolve this conflict you need to do one of three things:

  • Fix your workflow to match the ticket tracking system:

    This would involve discussing with your boss the ramifications of communicating better via tickets. There may be legitimate business reasons why this is discouraged, particularly if it involves notifying third parties of information that they shouldn't have (such as clients finding out confidential information).

  • Fix your ticket tracking system to match your workflow:

    This would involve either a feature request to whomever developed your ticket tracking system, or migrating to a different ticket tracking system that supports the features that you require. Changing ticket tracking systems is usually a large change as it tends to affect many people at an organization. Be sure to weigh the business needs of this particular decision before even suggesting to head down this path.

  • Shim the workflow and the ticket tracking system to meet your needs:

    You're already doing this with weekly knowledge transfer meetings, but you've expressed that this shim isn't ideal. A new shim would involve a different technique for knowledge transfer. Weekly status emails, a secondary internal ticketing system, a modification of how the ticket tracking system is leveraged, or coded messages via carrier pigeon could all be used to bridge the gap.

The important takeaway is that you need to sit down with your boss and have a discussion about the workflow issue. I recommend starting by finding out why he needs the information that he gets at the meetings so that you can streamline that process. Discuss the options, and weigh the relative costs.

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I think we should start looking at how you would prefer the reviewing to be. In this case it seems that it would be by listing the changes in the ticket, as you are tracking the status there anyway, that's what you were used to, and frankly, it's the right tool for the job.

After that, I would wait for your boss to be annoyed at having to review you and suggest keeping track of things on the ticketing system. I don't think you should remind him/her that (s)he didn't want you to do that. You can even phrase it as a new idea, or commenting how it was done before (but beware that for some people it's enough reason to do things differently, you don't want to make it look that you are comparing him with her predecessor).

It's possible that he/she doesn't remember that asked you not to do it, or that now -after noticing the current nuisance- has a different idea about it. It may be that your boss rejects it again. It's good to insist on it a bit showing the advantages of that alternative, but don't try to force it. In case of rejection, also try to discover why your boss doesn't want to receive the updates on the ticketing. Maybe your boss isn't against adding the updates to the tickers but eg from receiving one email for each comment (I'm sure your software can disable sending emails for that, in addition of local email filters), in which case you may be able to fix the real reason for not wanting updates there.

Look at other suggestions that people may bring up and consider them as backups in case it is rejected, such as the the weekly email suggested by David K (ok, what if I sent you weekly an email updating you on what happened to the tickets?)

PS: I'm pretty sure it is possible to make a script that downloads your private notes from last week and redacts them into an email.

  • Remind him / her? Oh don't worry that guy / girl will remember. That guy / girl says it every time the tickets are reviewed. – leeand00 Oct 2 '14 at 21:30
  • Actually the boss disabled the emails coming and going from the system to everybody but the IT department...so I think him / her is the one who has a problem receiving the updates. I don't see why him / her wouldn't use an email rule to move them into a folder right away. – leeand00 Oct 2 '14 at 21:33
  • Sure I could write some SQL that pulls that information from Spicework's SQLite database and that mails it to him / her; but I'm pretty sure Spiceworks already has a report like that and he / her pulls it and carries it in when the tickets are reviewed. – leeand00 Oct 2 '14 at 21:35
  • That reinforces me thinking that the problem of your boss is with using (configuring?) the tools. It's silly (or very egocentric) to disable a feature for everybody when it's a configuration setting. – Ángel Oct 2 '14 at 21:56
  • @leeand00, maybe he/she doesn't know how to create email rules (or that they exist!). But she shouldn't be imposing his broken ways to a technical group. – Ángel Oct 2 '14 at 21:57

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